I’ve been a high school small group leader for the past eight years and I’m always amazed by the power of a few pints of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. There are always those weeks during the year when you run out of energy, time, or the capacity to plan for your weekly lesson. I think we can all admit to being there at some point or another.
On those nights I’ve adopted the rule that instead of faking it to make it, I surprise my group with intentional fellowship. I’ve usually seen something on Instagram or Twitter in the past week or so that’s made me cringe so I try to rope that topic into the night in some form or another. But take note, it’s all done with Ben & Jerry’s being at the center of the table with multiple spoons in each pint.
These nights have ended up to be some of the best. The vulnerability that comes out as we sit eating our favorite flavors in sweatpants, is amazing. I’ve had girls open up about secret relationships, addictions and even frustrations and hatred aimed at people around the table. Most of these nights I sit back and let the students pastor each other and that’s what I love most!
It cost a few extra bucks but it’s totally worth it. You’ll laugh, make some new memories, and break ground on the real stuff happening in the lives of your students. So bust out the ice cream and see where the Lord guides the night!
Each week parents are sending desserts with their boys to Life Group. I got to where I couldn’t remember if somebody said they were bringing it. I always had a box cookie mix I could make in a pinch, but then a youth ministry friend told me about SignUpGenius.com. I used it to create a schedule for the entire year of life group. Parents can sign up for which ever weeks they want. They get an automatic reminder a couple of days ahead of time.
Taking it to the next level
I miss making desserts. I believe the boys should have homemade desserts because in today’s culture, for some of them it may the only homemade thing they get that week. I also believe if they can make the dessert themselves, it becomes a memory. I’m for sure going to take pictures of the night which will become part of the senior slide show for their graduation in a few years.
To get the best of both worlds, I’ve started putting the ingredients on the sign up list for parents to sponsor a theme dessert night. Next up on the list of stuff for parents to send is 4 tubes of crescent rolls and 2 containers of ice cream. I’m providing strawberries. Students will put the crescent rolls in the waffle maker, then top them with ice cream, strawberries and whipped cream. It’s going to be amazing!
- Parents still get to participate
- Students get homemade dessert
- Everybody gets a memory from the night
Dessert is such an easy way to make our ministries more dynamic. If we put a little thought into the “why” behind the “what” we do, our efforts can be much more effective. Those memories are amazingly helpful to make connections with students a little easier and relationships with them a little deeper.